Selangor PKR opposes Mahathir as Pakatan's PM candidate

Erika Holt
January 12, 2018

Malaysia's opposition alliance has named 92-year-old former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad as its candidate for the next general election.

MALAYSIA's fractured opposition has finally assigned a prime ministerial candidate for the elections due in August, who if re-elected, would be the world's oldest leader.

Mahathir stepped down as prime minister in 2003.

With the country's most popular opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim now in jail on sodomy charges, the authoritarian who ran the country for two decades is seen as the biggest threat for current premier Najib Razak, who must call an election by August.

The decision to pick Mahathir as candidate for premier was endorsed by senior leaders of four-party coalition Pact of Hope at their convention in Shah Alam, just outside Kuala Lumpur, to rousing cheers by hundreds of supporters.

Malaysia's political landscape has been shaped for almost two decades by a bitter feud between Mr Anwar and Dr Mahathir.

But he also agreed to make way for jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim - his former nemesis turned political ally - to become prime minister on his release from prison if Anwar is granted a royal pardon.

Ti said when Pakatan Harapan decides to name them their future Prime Minister and Prime Minister-in-waiting shows it is not serious about the change they have been promoting and promising the people.

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Kapayan assemblyman Dr Edwin Bosi of Parti Anak Negeri viewed it as a strategic political move by the opposition in Malaya to designate Mahathir as the prime minister in view of the current political situation there.

"One political crisis after another erupted over the 20 years that Dr Mahathir and Anwar engaged in their dispute". He is scheduled to be released in June, according to a government statement.

"Tomorrow (Sunday), you will hear all the announcements that will clear all of your questions", Dr Mahathir told reporters, as quoted by Malaysiakini.

Additionally, Mahathir's victory will pave the way for Anwar Ibrahim, who is now serving a sentence for a sodomy conviction until Jun 8, to become the prime minister.

He said Mahathir who has been in and out of Umno several times, had successfully hijacked the struggle of the opposition pact, especially PKR, which was formed to fight for Anwar under Dr Mahathir's premiership.

Anwar, now serving a five-year sentence for sodomy, is due to be released from prison on June 8, the Prisons Department director-general said on Sunday, barring any intervention from higher authorities. Najib's Barisan Nasional coalition lost the popular vote in that election, but managed to stay in power after winning a majority of the seats in parliament.

The corruption scandal Mr Najib is embroiled in involves a state fund, 1MDB.

He said this was because of uncertainty in how long the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman would hold the post as there had been talks that his appointment would only be temporary. Najib, the brainchild and head of 1MDB's advisory board, has denied any wrongdoing.

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